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Laughs for the whole family

At the age of 18, John Heffron stepped into stage lights for the first time to deliver a comedy routine in his hometown of Detroit.

Eighty-four miles away and 15 years later, a more experienced – and more well-known – Heffron will take the stage at BGSU’s Student Union tomorrow night, headlining the University’s Family Weekend activities.

“I’m looking forward to performing at the flattest campus,” Heffron said in an interview, making a jab at the Bowling Green landscape.

According to Raquel Dalton, director of the University Activities Organization, Heffron was specially chosen for Family Weekend.

“We’re working with a group on campus called Parent and Family Programs, who’s sponsoring it,” Dalton said. “[We] wanted to bring a family-friendly comedian and Heffron is family friendly.”

Heffron said the clean image is really the only way he could go.

“I tried to be a little dirtier but it never really worked for me,” he said. “Maybe it’s how I look, I look pretty clean-cut.”

Heffron, 33, first became interested in comedy at a young age.

“When I was like 12 or 13, I was really into stand-up comics,” he said. “Everytime there was a comedian on the Tonight Show or David Letterman, I’d watch them.”

He always knew he’d do something creative, he said.

But it wasn’t until, at age 18, he stepped onto that comedy club stage in Detroit that he knew his calling.

“The first time I went on stage I did really well,” he said, adding that it’s like, “the universe [is] kind of pushing you toward the way you’re supposed to go.”

Heffron describes his brand of comedy as pretty observational.

“Things I did in college like taking exams, dealing with roommates, just things that people can relate to,” he said.

He gained those college experiences at BGSU’s conference rival Eastern Michigan University.

By the time he graduated, Heffron was already entrenched in comedy.

“When I graduated from college I was making enough money [as a comedian], so I was like, ‘Why would I wanna work at a day job now?’ ” he said.

Also, he joked, there’s no manual labor involved.

While not manual labor, all his hard work has brought Heffron success – he’s landed a half-hour special on “Comedy Central Presents,” several appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and possibly a TV sitcom.

“I’m working with ABC on doin’ my own sitcom,” Heffron said. “It’ll probably be loosely based on my life.”

In five years, Heffron said he hopes to be working on the fifth season of that show.

“[I’d like to] go into Best Buy and pick up seasons one through three on DVD,” he said.

“Or,” he said with a teasing inflection in his voice, “I could be working at UPS – nothing’s really written in stone.”

Jamie Howe, freshman, is a fan of Heffron’s and is excited that he’s performing at BG.

“He has a lot of energy on stage and he makes you wanna watch him,” Howe said.

“He’s just really funny,” she said. “Like, one of his jokes will hit anybody, they’re very broad.”

As of yesterday, UAO sold 6,000 tickets to the show.

“That’s 60 percent sold,” said Dalton, “which, by industry standards is a successful show. We’re really pleased.”

Tickets remain on sale today for $10. They can be purchased on the Web at or at the information desk in the Union.

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